National Data Service

The National Data Service


Early look at NDS Labs, MDF shown at SC14

Attendees at Supercomputing 14 in New Orleans are getting a sneak-peek at two NDS projects, NDS Labs and the Materials Data Facility

NDS Labs supports development of new data sharing tools

To accelerate the advancement of a national infrastructure for data sharing and publishing, the National Data Services (NDS) Consortium is creating a virtual laboratory called NDS Labs.

Report from the first NDS Consortium Planning Workshop available

Missed the first workshop? Preparing for the 2nd meeting? Find out what happened in our report from the first Consortium Planning Workshop.

The National Data Service is an emerging vision of how scientists and researchers across all disciplines can find, reuse, and publish data. It is an international federation of data providers, data aggregators, community-specific federations, publishers, and cyberinfrastructure providers. It builds on the data archiving and sharing efforts under way within specific communities and links them together with a common set of tools.


It is widely believed that ubiquitous digital information will transform the very nature of research and education. The reasons for this excitement are clear: In essentially every field of science, simulations, experiments, instruments, observations, sensors, and/or surveys are generating exponentially growing data volumes. Information from different sources and fields can be combined to permit new modes of discovery. Data, including critical metadata and associated software models, can capture the precise scientific content of the processes that generated them, permitting analysis, reuse, and reproducibility. By digitizing communication among scientists and citizens, discoverable and shareable data can enable collaboration and support repurposing for new discoveries and cross-disciplinary research enabled by data sharing across communities. Open, shareable data also promise to transform education, society, and economic development.

However, while some communities are making progress in developing discipline-specific data services, the U.S. and international scientific communities lack a unified framework and supporting services for storing, sharing, and publishing data; for locating data; or for verifying data. More specifically, we are lacking standard means of accessing data, software, tools, metadata, and other project materials that can span across disciplines. These capability gaps make it difficult to build on prior research or to reproduce the results of a scientific publication. Hence, the promise of the data revolution—for rapid discovery, cross-disciplinary research, and increased reproducibility—remains largely unfulfilled. To break this logjam, the nation urgently needs an open framework that supports an integrated set of national-scale services to individually and collectively enable the efficient, convenient, and secure storage, sharing, publication, discovery, verification, and attribution of data by individuals, groups, and large collaborations. This framework and services will constitute a National Data Service (NDS). If these services are embedded within an extensible NDS architecture allowing numerous tools and community-specific services to enhance NDS over time, then we can realize a research environment where access to and citation of data is as useful and necessary as it is for published literature.

A transcript is available for this video.

To be successful, a National Data Service will need to build on the federations, the cyberinfrastructure, the institutional and community archiving, and the best practices already taking hold in the varied research communities today. To this end, a growing group of universities, academic federations, federally funded projects, and publishers are collaborating to form an NDS Consortium that can guide the development of a National Data Service, and we are inviting interested organizations to join. In particular, we envision an initial membership that samples a broad variety of stakeholders, including:

We see this Consortium as a forum for coordinating the various community efforts and federally funded programs (such as NSF's DataNet and DIBBs) to connect a web of archives, repositories, services, and computing platforms that can work together.

For more about the vision for the NDS and the Consortium, read our white paper, The National Data Service: a vision for accelerating discovery through data sharing.